Al -Shsbab founder to contest elections in Somalia

By Tomi Oladipo

A former commander of militant Islamist group al-Shabab has announced that he is running for public office in Somalia.

Mukhtar Robow was a spokesman for al-Shabab before he defected
Mukhtar Robow was a spokesman for al-Shabab before he defected

Mukhtar Robow left the group in 2012, and surrendered to the government in August last year.

He says he will be contesting the presidency of South-West state in next month’s regional elections following requests from people in the area.

Mr Robow has expressed his willingness, if he wins, to forge a strong relationship with the federal government, which has been feuding with some state administrations.

A founder of al-Shabab, he is the highest ranking militant to defect from the group.

In 2000 he trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

He quit al-Shabab because of what he called ideological differences, and then led his own militant group, which fought against al-Shabab.

In June last year, following reports that Robow was in talks with the Somali government, the US State Department removed him from its terror list and scrapped a £5m (£3.85m) reward for his capture. BBC News

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